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KARNAK NIGHTS                         *3J
voice further verses from the Quran. Next came a bearded old man who walked slowly throughout the whole length of each row of sitters, carrying a brass bowl of burning charcoal upon which some handfuls of incense had been thrown. The fragrant clouds of smoke were wafted across the open court to our verandah.
Then three men faced each other around the flagstaff and commenced a long religious chant which went on for fifteen to twenty minutes. One felt the intense devout fervour of their hearts expressing itself in the solemn tones of their voices. Then they dropped to the ground and a fourth man arose to take up the chant. He chose for his words a favourite Dervish song which came from his lips with almost melancholy passion. Its poetic Arabic lines were expressive of that burning longing for Allah which the true Dervish is supposed to feel. By the time he had finished, the words had become plaintive cries wrung from his heart; cries for the conscious presence of Allah, his Creator.
"My union seems most distant," he sang: "Will my Beloved e'er meet mine eye?
Alas!  Did not Thy distance Draw my tears, I would not sigh.
"By dreary nights I am broken, Absence makes my hope expire,
My tears, like pearls, are dropping And my heart is wrapped in fire.
Whose is like unto my condition ? Scarcely remedy knew I,
Alas!  Did not Thy distance Draw my tears, I would not sigh.
"O First, and sole Eternal! Show thy favour yet to me.
Thy slave, Ahmad El-Bakree, Hath no lord excepting Thee.
By the Greatness of our Prophet Do thou not his wish deny.
Alas!  Did not Thy distance Draw my tears, I would not sigh."
When he sat down I saw that most of the others were outwardly affected by the burning \ iging that was the theme of